Definition of planchette in US English:



  • A small board supported on casters, typically heart-shaped and fitted with a vertical pencil, used for automatic writing and in seances.

    ‘the planchette jerked and skittered to the upper left-hand corner of the paper’
    • ‘With their fingers on the planchette, they saw it move about the board's array of printed letters, numbers, and the words yes and no to spell our messages - she told him - from spirits of the dead.’
    • ‘Pursuing the Ouija Board metaphor productively, once we recognize that all kinds of things have to be in place before the student can place her hands on the planchette, what might that mean for the way we teach her?’
    • ‘In a traditional classroom where we assumed that our students were driving the planchette, our tasks as teachers were fairly obvious.’
    • ‘In the 1990s I was involved with a small group of magicians who ‘created’ an egregore and then tried to make contact with it using a variety of methods, such as a planchette, the time-honoured seance method, etc.’
    • ‘The Museum of Talking Boards contains galleries of previously manufactured boards and planchettes, and those currently in production.’
    • ‘I think he might have demonstrated it by saying, ‘Hold the planchette without asking a question, and see what happens.’’
    • ‘The idea that the planchette won't move for some people alone because the ‘devil has their soul’ is pure playground nonsense.’
    • ‘The British governor of Hong Kong, entered into the spirit of the plot, briefing a Chinese contact who arranged for the prediction to emerge from a planchette message - a type of séance - at a Chinese temple in Macao.’
    • ‘It explains why the planchette, in response to questions, glides so smoothly over the Ouija board to spell answers which seem to come from spirits.’
    • ‘In some sense, therefore, the device allows the cursor to be a planchette in a virtual Ouija board effect.’
    • ‘The planchette moved, spun on its little wheels, painted nonsense curlicues over the paper.’
    • ‘Mired in the humanistic belief that someone must be pushing the planchette, our unease grows as we cannot pin down the culprit.’
    • ‘And, like the Ouija Board player, we may not be able to know how the movements of our classroom planchette will be related to our teaching intentions.’
    • ‘Using a Ouija board, for example, demonstrates that while the exercise of agency takes place in the movement of the planchette, the status and possibly even the existence of the agent who originates the action is undecidable.’
    • ‘As they here suggest, unease over who moves the planchette is at the heart of the Ouija Board experience.’
    • ‘Players could also invoke the idea of possession by a spirit who temporarily inhabits one or more of the players at the table and directs the movement of the planchette (viz., ‘channeling’).’
    • ‘Rendered in the terms of the talking board séance, the ontotheological habit is akin to presuming that the movement of the planchette proves the agency of determinate subjects, dead or alive.’


Mid 19th century: from French, literally ‘small plank’, diminutive of planche.